kccu

Larry Kaplow

President Trump's Iran address creates uncertainty about the long-term survival of the two-year-old nuclear deal. It opens the door to Congress to find ways out of it, even as he threatened — yet again — to use his power as president to break the deal himself.

But for now, the deal stands — with the administration itself acknowledging it's better to have it than to break it.

In 2015, world powers agreed to give Iran relief from some economic sanctions in return for inspections and limits on its nuclear program. Since the nuclear deal — formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — took effect in January 2016, Iran has allowed inspections and is seeing some economic payoff.

The Syrian civil war could be on the verge of its worst bloodshed yet — the wholesale destruction of the eastern side of Aleppo, one of the country's most important cities.

This is the warning the United Nations envoy, Staffan de Mistura, sounded in desperation this past week about Aleppo. Since the collapse of a ceasefire last month, the Syrian government and its Russian allies have stepped up attacks on the eastern side of the city, which is held by rebels.

The Islamic State's claim of responsibility for a trio of major attacks, including the assault on Paris, has led to a rapid reassessment of the extremist group and its aspirations.

Until a couple of weeks ago, ISIS appeared focused on building its self-declared caliphate, or Islamic empire, in its core areas of Syria and Iraq. But it now says it was behind attacks in France, Egypt and Lebanon that killed nearly 400 people in a two-week span.

Basic questions — like the group's goals or whether it's getting stronger or weaker — are being examined anew.